While out walking at dusk, I felt suddenly your whole lecture of yesterday morning began echoing in every cell of my body. I was looking as a spectator at the splendor of scenes going by, when the memory of the observer arose. This play of the observer went on for some time, then my legs began wobbling and to keep from falling I sat down at the side of the road and then neither scene nor spectator remained, nor even the observer. Everything disappeared but still something was – sometimes dark, sometimes light, playing hide and seek. But since then anxiety has increased and I cannot understand all this.
This is just what I was saying. If a small glimpse of the truth comes to you, you will be upset; you won’t be able to understand. Not understanding it, a deep uneasiness will take hold of you; madness too can overtake you.
This is why I speak on these scriptures. This is why I go on explaining every day, so that the information will remain in your unconscious, and when the happening takes place you can figure it out, you can clearly define what happened. Otherwise how will you comprehend it? You won’t have the language, the words; you will have no way to understand it, no measuring stick, no scales – how will you weigh it? You will have no touchstone. How can you appraise it?
You have said: “… Your whole lecture of yesterday morning began echoing in every cell of my body. I was looking as a spectator at the splendor of scenes going by, when the memory of the observer arose. This play of the observer went on for some time, then my legs began wobbling and to keep from falling I sat down at the side of the road.”
Certainly this happens. When you first become aware of the observer, you wobble. Your whole life totters, because your whole life is set up without the observer. This new happening will shatter everything. It is like a blind man whose eyes suddenly open: do you think he will be able to walk down the road? He will stagger. Blind for forty, fifty years, he felt his way along with the help of his cane. In his blindness he gradually developed the ability to walk in the dark. He became skillful. He interpreted sounds around him. He got to know the turns in the roads. He had learned the art of seeing with his ears. For fifty years everything had been going well.
This life of the blind – which you cannot even imagine – bereft of light, color, beauty, shape; it depends only on the medium of sound…. He has only one language: sound. He has created his whole life on this basis. If on the way to the market in the morning suddenly his eyes open, think of what will happen. His whole world will come crashing down. His world of sound will go completely topsy-turvy.
This event will be so strong – the eyes opening, seeing peoples’ faces, seeing colors, the rays of the sun, sunlight and shadow, this crowd; so many people, buses, cars, bicycles – he will completely freak out! It will be such a great shock to his life: Will the small world he has made with the help of sound disappear, be wiped out, die, be trampled under? He will sit down on the spot trembling, he may stagger and fall. Perhaps he will not be able to make it home… maybe he will faint.
And this example is nothing. When the observer makes its entrance into your life, when just one ray of the observer comes, then this example is nothing – the event is so much bigger. The inner eye is opening. You have created your world without the inner eye and when the inner eye suddenly opens it makes your whole world wrong. You will remain speechless in amazement.
You have asked rightly and asked from experience. Consider the two types of questions. One is theoretical – it has no great value. But this question comes out of experience. If there were no experience this question could not have arisen. If these legs had not staggered, this question would not have arisen. This question is from direct experience.
“… The memory of the observer arose.” Ashtavakra’s words must have reverberated. An echo must have remained of what I had said in the morning. Its fragrance must have arisen in you, a few threads of what I said must have become entangled in you.
“… The memory of the observer arose. This play of the observer went on for some time….” Perhaps it was only a moment. A moment of the observer seems very long, because the observer is beyond time. Here only a second passes on your watch; there, as the observer, it seems centuries have passed. This watch is of no use there. This watch is not made for the inner eye.
“This play of the observer went on for some time, but then my legs began wobbling and I sat down at the side of the road to keep from falling.” This wobbling indicates that it happened. The questioner has not asked a question from his listening or reading – something transpired.
“And then neither scene nor spectator remained, nor even the observer.” In that wobbling everything dispersed, everything disappeared. In such moments confusion arises if there has been no gradual preparation. If we are unable to assimilate it drop by drop, if it happens all of a sudden, there can be an explosion.
“Everything disappeared but still something was.” Certainly something was. Actually everything was for the first time. Everything of yours ended, your little house of straw fell down. The sky, the moon and stars – the ultimate remained. The boundaries, the lines you had drawn all disappeared – cloudless sky remained. Your conditioning of living in a confined shell was shaken. You were frightened by this wobbling and sat down at the roadside. Certainly something was. The experience makes one speechless. One cannot grasp: what was it, who was it?
Have you noticed? – Sometimes something suddenly wakes you up when you were deep asleep. At five a.m. you were sound asleep, at the hour of deepest sleep, and something suddenly awakens you. Some noise, some firecracker goes off in the street, a car crashes into your door: some noise that immediately wakes you up. Instantly! You jump immediately from sleep to wakefulness. You come like an arrow from the depths of sleep. Usually when we come out of deep sleep we come very slowly. First deep sleep drops away, then dreams gradually start floating, then we remain in dreams for a while.
You can remember your morning dreams, but you do not recall the night dreams, because the morning dreams are very light and exactly half way between sleep and waking up. Then gradually dreams disappear. Then there is half broken sleep. Then sun and shadow play a little hide and seek with your eyes: you are one moment awake, one moment again asleep; you roll over as if awake…. In between you hear your wife making tea, a dish falls, the milkman comes, someone passes by on the street, the servant knocks, the kids are getting ready for school. Then you roll over again and start falling into the depths. In this way you very gradually come to the surface. Then you open your eyes.
But if something happens suddenly, you come like an arrow from the depths straight to awakening. Your eyes open and you wonder: Where am I? Who am I? For a moment nothing is clear. This must have happened to all of you at some time or other: you wonder, Who am I? Even your name and address will be gone. Where am I? This too will be unclear. It is as if you have suddenly come to some alien world. It lasts only a moment then you come back together, because this shock isn’t such a great shock. And then too you are used to it – it happens every day. You get up every morning: you return from the world of dreams into the world of wakefulness. This routine is old, yet sometimes when it happens suddenly you are startled and frightened.
When the real awakening happens you will be completely speechless. You won’t have any idea what is happening. Everything will become calm and silent.
But it was good. “… Neither scene nor spectator remained, not even the observer remained.
Everything disappeared but still something was.” It is to help you to comprehend this “something” that I speak on scriptures – so you become capable of interpreting it. You can give meaning to this “something,” you can identify it, you can define it. If not, it can drown you. You will be carried away in a flood, you won’t have any place to stand. Hence I go on saying so many things.
“Everything disappeared but still something was. Sometimes dark, sometimes light playing hide and seek. But since then anxiety has increased and I cannot understand all this.”
Put it away, keep what I say to you. Make a jewelled box for it. Don’t take it as wisdom but only as information. Consciously make a box for it. Then gradually you will find, as experiences begin happening, that my words arise from your unconscious, and make clear and comprehensible the experiences that happen. I will be your witness.
But if you argue with me as you listen I cannot become your witness – you listen and you are creating some kind of internal struggle against me, refuting me. If you are not listening sympathetically, lovingly, but go on debating, then I cannot be your witness because then when you put something in your box it won’t be mine, it will be yours.
Last night a psychologist from Australia took sannyas. I told him, “You are welcome here even if you don’t take sannyas. But then you will not become my guest. You are welcomed. But if you take sannyas you are welcome here and you will also become my guest.”
People ask me, “Will your love for us be less if we don’t take sannyas?” My love for you will remain total. Be welcome! But the moment you take sannyas you become my guest also. And there is a great difference. Without taking sannyas you listen from a distance. Taking sannyas you come close.
Without your taking sannyas your intellect goes on analyzing, goes on shifting whatever I say. Whatever fits with your mind you keep, whatever does not fit you throw out. And the possibility is that what doesn’t fit with you is what will be useful for you. Whatever agrees with your mind cannot transform you. If it agrees with you it means that it is in harmony with your past. What doesn’t fit with your past can spark a revolution within. What doesn’t fit with you can transform. Whatever totally fits you will strengthen you as you are, not transform you. You go on selecting – you think you are intelligent.
Intelligent people sometimes do very idiotic things. They sit here selecting. They go on choosing. They hold on to things that fit their prejudice, and make no connection with anything that is against their prejudice. But I repeat to you that what doesn’t seem to fit you will someday be useful. Now you don’t have any way to understand it, because you don’t have any experience of it. But still I say unto you, keep it with you. When the experience comes someday, then suddenly it will arise from your unconscious and clarify everything. Then you will not remain speechless, the amazement will not break you apart. And you need not be frightened and uneasy.
“High above what the wind sang and the cedars echoed, what was shining on the snow peaks, what spilled over from the evening sky, who received all this? The one who extended his hand, desiring to attract it? Oh, it has descended into my already given heart. It overflows in my accepted tears. It came unknown, unrecognized. It has manifested itself by means of all these and me. It has permeated itself. Alone where it is resplendent, eyes are helplessly lowered. Not only sounds, the echoing of the infinite silence is also lost there.”
Hear me – with deep tears! Hear me – with the heart. Hear me – with love. Not with intellect, not with logic. This is the meaning of trust and faith.
“High above what the wind sang and the cedars echoed, what was shining on the snow peaks, what spilled over from the evening sky, who received all this? The one who extended his hand, desiring to attract it?” No! Whenever the hand of desire is extended, it shrinks. The hand of desire can only contain alms, not an empire. A heart opened by love is needed to contain an empire. A begging, desiring bowl will not do.
“… Who received all this? The one who extended his hand, desiring to attract it?”
You can listen to me in such a way that you take what fits your prejudices and put it in your bag. Then you come to me extending your begging bowl. Desire is a beggar. You can take a little, but what you take are just scraps of bread fallen from the table. You could not become a guest. Sannyas will make you a guest. “Oh, it has descended into my already given heart. It overflows in my accepted tears. It came unknown, unrecognized. It has manifested itself by means of all these and me. It has permeated itself. Alone where it is resplendent, eyes are helplessly lowered.”
Where eyes bow down…. “Not only sounds, the echoing of the infinite silence is also lost there.” Get ready for this. Fill the heart with love for this. Learn to listen with sympathy. And keep in a treasure box what I am saying to you. Then you will not suffer. Then when the unacquainted, the unknown descends, you can understand it. You will be able to understand its hidden music. You will not drown or be frightened by its silence, you will be liberated; otherwise it seems like death.
If God comes without your understanding, if you have no means to understand him, it will feel like death, that you are finished. If you have a little understanding, some preparation, you have learnt something from a master, have sat in his presence, then God is liberation; otherwise he seems to be death. And once you have freaked out, you will stop going in that direction. Once you have been so frightened, every cell of your body will tremble. You will go everywhere except where there is such fear. Where your arms and legs tremble, where you have to sit at the side of the road, where everything goes dark and all seems to be lost; something unknown, unacquainted remains and you are just freaked out – you won’t go back there.
In one of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems he says, “I searched for God for many lives… searched but never found. Sometimes I got a glimpse of him among the most distant stars. I kept hoping, kept looking. Then one day by a lucky accident I reached his door. There was a sign: ’This is God’s house.’ I climbed the steps – in one leap the journey of many lives was complete. Benediction!
“My hand was on the doorbell chain when a fear overcame me: ’What if I meet him? Then? What will I do? My whole work has been to seek God. I live in this hope – it is my life’s journey. So if I meet God it will be death. What will happen to my life, my journey? Then where will I go, what will I attain, what will I seek? Then nothing will remain.’ So in fright I let go of the chain, slowly let go of it so there would be no noise, so that he would not open the door. I took my shoes in my hand and fled, and since then I have been fleeing.”
“Still I go on seeking” – the poem continues – ”even now I am seeking God, though I know where his house is. I seek him everywhere except there, because seeking is my life. I keep myself from going near it. I go anywhere except towards that house. I turn away from it. I ask everywhere else, ‘Where is God?’ – and all along I know where God is.”
As I see it, many people have come close to that house many times in their endless seeking, but freaked out. Freaked out and forgot everything; only that fright they cannot forget. This is why people are not readily attracted to meditation. People are scared, and avoid even talking about things like meditation. They make formal use of the word God, but they never let themselves go in a deep search for him. They go to the temple, the mosque – it is a social formality, a convention, a custom. They go because they are supposed to, but they never let the temple, the mosque, be established in their heart. They won’t take on such danger. They keep God far away. And there is a reason for it – somewhere hidden deep in their memory is an experience of fear. Sometime they must have faltered in front of that door.
If the friend who has had this experience does not understand it correctly he will start being frightened. Sitting down freaked out in the street, all limbs trembling, heart pounding wildly, breath coming in gulps, everything every which-way – it is better to stay away from such meditation! It is trouble. It is okay if you come back, but if you don’t come back? If you go on sitting at the roadside people will think you are crazy. It is okay for an hour or two; more, and the police will come. More, and the neighbors will take you away, or send you to the hospital to find out what happened. The medics will start giving injections, concerned that you have lost consciousness, that there may be a brain injury.
A friend has written – a sannyasin – that he left here dancing, ecstatic. His family had never seen him dancing and ecstatic. When he danced and was blissed out at home they thought he was insane. They came running, caught him, sat him down, and asked what happened.
He said, “Nothing happened to me. I am very happy, in bliss.” The more he spoke of spiritual truths the more his family was sure something was wrong. They took him from the house and forced him to enter a hospital.
A letter has come from him. He says, “I am lying here in the hospital laughing. This is great fun. When I was sad no one took me for medical help. Now I am happy people have brought me to the hospital. I am watching this drama. But they think I am insane. And the more they think I am mad the more I laugh! The more I laugh the more they think I am mad!”
It is good that you have asked. Don’t be frightened. This experience will gradually quieten down.
Witness it. This happening is natural.
From Enlightenment: The Only Revolution, Chapter Six
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